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Super Bowl Commercials

USA Today's list of the most popular Super Bowl commercials can be found here.

  1. Anheuser-Busch: Football-playing Clydesdales turn to zebra referee to review call on replay.
  2. Anheuser-Busch: Guy sidesteps "no pets" rule at bar by using his dog as a hairdo.
  3. Pepsi/Sierra Mist: Zoo baboon catapults to cool off in a nearby polar bear pool.
  4. Anheuser-Busch: Strongman contest to lift fridge of Bud Light hijacked by fans.
  5. Anheuser-Busch: Buddy warns guy his fiancée will look like her mother in 20 years.
  6. Reebok: Terry Tate, "Office Linebacker," enforces office rules with gusto.
  7. Pepsi/Sierra Mist: Dog cools its master with fire hydrant blast.
  8. Anheuser-Busch: Beer drinker in clown suit grosses out bar patrons.
  9. Pfizer/Trident: Fifth dentist from Trident's "four out of five dentists" claim is bitten by a squirrel.
  10. Anheuser-Busch: Beachgoer's pickup line with conch shell bites him back.
Looking at the list, what is so obviously striking is the dominance of commercials for beer and soda. In the latter case, Pepsi is heavily promoting a new brand in a crowded and undifferentiated product category. In the former case, Anheuser-Busch is promoting two brands -- Budweiser and Bud Light -- that represent the nadir in quality of their product categories. If they didn't advertise their beers so heavily, sales would drop precipitously, because -- let's be honest here -- very few people drink them for the taste (and God help those who do). In other words, the lower the quality or the less differentiated one's product, the more reliant one becomes on advertising. Done right, it works, but it's the most expensive method of promotion available.

At the Super Bowl party I attended, the consensus opinion was that it was a weak year for commercials. Combined with a laugher of a game, the event was a disappointment this year. Given the good games we've had in most recent years, and the good runs of commercials, I suppose we were due for a letdown at some point.

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